Caucasus Reality 10 june — 18:14

Levon Ter-Petrosyan's sensational press-conference: 'Armenia is no longer player on Karabakh issue. After war, no one asks us (Transcript from Armenian media)

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BY INFORMATION SECTION

On 10 June, the first President of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosyan held a press-conference in Yerevan, at which he announced sensational details of the negotiation process and touched upon the vicissitudes of the internal Armenian political life, as well as the place of the Armenian state in the modern world.

We present to the readers of Azeri Daily the most interesting parts from the speech of the Armenian politician. Let us remind you that Ter-Petrosyan himself and the Armenian National Congress headed by him are running for parliamentary elections.

'The second President of Armenia Robert Kocharyan withdrew Karabakh from the negotiations, and now the acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan withdrew Armenia from the negotiations. That is why no one asks Armenia's opinion after the war of 2020. Armenia cannot make an independent decision on Karabakh. This, perhaps, is an even more serious consequence than the war. We're not players on this issue anymore...

'In the 1990s, six people from the Armenian side got a grip on the issue of settling the Karabakh conflict at the expert level - myself, Robert Kocharyan, Arkady Ghukasyan, Vardan Voskanyan, Alexander Arzumanyan, Vazgen Sargsyan, in Russia it was Kazimirov, in the United States there was also one person. Now there are few of them. Nikol Pashinyan himself still does not understand the Karabakh issue. The leaders of the countries talk to him, but he doesn't understand anything. Partners tell him, but I don't know if he understands or distorts what they said. I tend to believe what he doesn't understand. I am not ready to give an answer on the issue of resolving the conflict, since the United States, France and Russia talk about their intentions with Pashinyan, but not with me, Kocharyan or Serzh Sergsyan...

'I have repeated many times that after 1996-1997 the balance of power changed in favour of Azerbaijan. Therefore, in 2017, I tried to do everything to get Serzh Sargsyan to resolve the conflict. There was "Lavrov's plan". Then the patience of the world community ran out. However, we lost time and did nothing. Serzh Sargsyan was supposed to sign the "Lavrov plan"...

'I am for the delimitation of borders with Azerbaijan. There is no alternative to the recognition of the Soviet borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The question is not whether Armenia can afford to recognise the Soviet borders. The international community, represented by the UN, recognised the independence of the former Soviet republics. Nothing can be changed here. The border between Armenia and Azerbaijan is the Soviet border. If you have enough strength, you can go and conquer. And incidents on the line of contact will occur periodically, every day, until a clear agreement is signed. Especially if these are enemy countries, and even more so if friendly, so that there will be no disagreements in the future. I cannot say what impact this will have on the Karabakh issue, since again I need to know the position of the partners. And border disputes, captivity and so on will be all the time until Armenia and Azerbaijan sign a clear agreement. All these questions should be addressed to Pashinyan...

'I stress once again the importance of opening a transport corridor with Russia through Meghri. Each side understands the words "transport corridor" in its own way: Azerbaijan seeks to get access to Nakhichevan, Armenia - a corridor to Russia. What is there to explain? Isn't it important for Armenia to have a reliable road with Russia? You know the state of the roads with Georgia, and the roads of Azerbaijan are closed for us. If such an opportunity opens up, it will be an excellent link for Armenia...

'As far as the question of a coalition is concerned, this can be discussed only when no force will make up a majority in parliament. Then a balanced and serious decision will be made. The question of with whom the ANC (Ter-Petrosyan's party - Ed) will join in a coalition, if it ends up in parliament, is premature; it can be discussed only after the elections.

'The proposal to form a government where none of the three ex-presidents would claim power was not accepted by Robert Kocharyan and Serzh Sargsyan, and it is no longer possible to return to it. However, if we assume that the ANC, and the forces of Pashinyan, and Kocharyan, and others will enter parliament, and at the same time no one will make a majority, then the situation will be completely different. Who will the ANC be with, Pashinyan or Kocharyan? Let's flip a coin. But seriously, this is not the time to talk about it. A new situation will emerge, then I think we will take it more seriously and try not to make the wrong decision. I have always advocated a coalition of solidarity, but for Armenia this is not the best option, because the balance of power can constantly change, and governments can be reshuffled two or three times a year. The option is not the best, but if it does not work out otherwise, we must try...'

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